i wasn’t in class so my thoughts on this book will be completely unmediated by what might have been said.
i find it hard to believe joanna russ is taking herself seriously. her ideas are so over-the-top and sexist that i really can’t see how someone’s opinions can be like this. kinotice i said sexism and not feminism. russ is not in any way a feminist writer. feminism is about equality between sexes, giving women a choice about how they live their lives, and recognizing gender as nothing more than a social construct and her bitching–yes bitching–supports none of these ideas. the only way she could be a feminist is if this novel in tongue-in-cheek mockery of people that actually think like that. at least, i’m going to read the novel as if it were written to be ironic even though the exclusionary dedication at the beginning says otherwise.
a simple example: marriage. seriously? i’m all for same-sex relationships with whatever official name people want to give them but marriage, for me, is about commitment and a social network to raise children. one parent can raise a kid just fine, two parents can raise a kid just fine, someone unrelated to a kid can raise it just fine. to describe her “utopian” idea of raising a kid until it was five and sending it off as idiotic would be an understatement.
she also shows no compassion for other women–i won’t even go into her ideas of men that could not be described as anything but reactionary–and criticizes jeannine’s personal decision for how to live her life.
oh, and the writing style of this book. i’ve heard all the ideas about how language and literature are creations of men and are set up in ways that are beneficial for men and excludes women. i feel like her formatting is a desperate attempt at creating something new, but her pretension causes it to fail miserably.
and yes i’ve read novels feminist novels and yes they have challenged ideas on gender and literary form and i felt like i’ve gained something from those books. this isn’t one of them.